Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vision Thing - Short Story

Yesterday, I went to my optometrist's office to get my annual eye exam. As the lovely young student took care of my exam, a story began to unfold inside of me. When I told Stacy what I was going to do, she laughed and said that hopefully, it would not be because I had a bad exam with her. I laughed and said that in fact, the exam inspired me and that I would dedicate the story to her. Thank you, Stacy at Southern College of Optometry

I hope you enjoy.

I arrived at the optometrist's office with just enough time to sit down in the bland coloured waiting room and stretch my legs. Suddenly, an older man dressed in the standard “uniform” of an optometrist walked in and called my name. I smiled as I got up and followed him back into the exam room.
“I hope you weren't waiting long,” he said in a soft voice. I told him that I had not. As we walked, I noticed that he slouched a bit and that while his lab coat was extremely white, his brown pants looked to be rumpled and a bit faded. His pale skin seemed a bit sickly yet his thick head of brown hair with no grey proved otherwise. Ignoring any further rude thoughts about his appearance, we finally arrived in his small exam room. He asked me to take a seat in the large chair and so I did.
“Have you had any problems with your eyes?”
“No. I wear my glasses as much as I can.”
“Good, good.” He turned to his desk and began typing on his computer as I began to fidget. Although I had never experienced pain at an optometrist's office before, I was always rather sensitive about my eyes. My last optometrist of ten years suddenly got married and moved with his wonderful optometrist wife to New Mexico, leaving me and many other loving and loyal patients without their beloved doctor. After asking around, I finally found the name of Dr. David Finnegan with an office near my home. It seemed, through some internet digging, that he had been in the practice for over twenty years and so, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and see him. As that thought dissolve in my mind, I turned to face the optometrist, who still typed away on his computer. He finally nodded and smiled then returned his attention to me, showing off his bright green eyes. “So, what brings you to my little office?” His smile was so radiant that I gave him one of my own. So far, so good.
“Just here for an exam. My last optometrist got married and moved away.”
“Oh, who was that?”
“Dr. Jacobs.”
“Oh, yes,” he said as he leaned back in his chair, “Michael is such an awesome person. He and I used to go to bookstores on Sundays. He will be missed around here.” He then got up and proceeded to check his instruments and confirm that yes, I was blind and always would be.
“Will you need to dilate my pupils?”
“Oh no. I had your records sent to me from Dr. Jacobs' office. Since you had that done last year, you won't get it done this time around.” He then moved the massive phorotper in front of me and asked me to scoot forward. Soon, we began what I liked to call “better or worse” game. Is this one better or worse? What about now? Better or worse? I answered as best as I could and with every answer, he replied with either a nod or a grunt. He flipped the lenses and changed the letter cards, asking me to read the smallest print. Better or worse? Better or worse? Twenty minutes later, he pulled the phorotper from my face then dimmed the lights for the next part of the exam. He sat on a stool and moved rather close to my face with a bright light pen. “Going to check your pupils,” he said in a soft and almost warm voice. “Just follow my lead.” As he spoke, I could smell mint and a hint of lavender coming from his mouth. I followed as instructed while trying not to get distracted from his slow and steady breathing. He then grinned and pulled away to turn on the lights. As I stretched in the chair, he typed away on his computer then returned to me.
“Give it to me straight, Doc,” I said in a poor imitation of Bugs Bunny. “Am I still blind?”
“Oh no,” he said as he slowly turned to face me, his grin even wider than before, “I'd say you were rather perfect.” Before I could ask him if I needed a new pair of glasses, the lights suddenly went out. I gasped for a moment then relaxed.
“Dr. Finnegan, what happened to the lights?”
“You don't need such limitations.” I heard the rustling of fabric nearby and then I saw a darker form rise up. “I'm so glad.”
“Glad? Um, what-” I heard rustling again and suddenly, the dark form began to emit a strange soft glow. I put on my glasses and saw that it was Dr. Finnegan or at least, I thought it was him.
“I have searched long and wide for someone,” said a voice that sounded remotely like my optometrist, “and yet no one came close.” The glow grew brighter and brighter and as I made out just what caused the glow, I couldn't move. There stood my optometrist, completely naked and yet not. He stood with arms and legs stretched out and his slender body with no genitals was completely covered in eyes of every colour and shape. They blinked at different times as they glowed in different colours. I wanted to run out of the office yet could not.
“I have been hidden for too long,” said the creature in a low and sonorous voice. “Others have awakened, yet I still slept.”
“Awakened? What are you talking about?”
He took a step towards me and half of the eyes on his body stared right at me. “Do you know how agonizing it is to be a sleeping god? I slept for so long, living here and hiding. I slept because no one remembered me anymore. Everyone had either left or died.”
“Who's everyone?” As much as I wanted to run away, I also wanted to know more about this . . . thing.
“My followers. They died or found others gods to follow. No one wanted my gifts anymore. No one cared. We all slept, back then. We slept, dreaming of when IT would return. Now it has and I waited for so long to find someone.”
“Someone to do what? Good god, what ARE you talking about?” I wondered if it was a good idea to argue with a possibly mad deity, only to drop it. “Who are you?”
“I am the God of Sight,” it said as now all eyes focused on me and refused to blink. “And you shall be my First.”
“First? First what? Wait, are you going to kill me?” I suddenly found my legs again and was about to run for dear life. He raised his hand in peace and the eyes focused in all directions.
“I am sorry,” he said as he took another step towards me, “I did not mean to scare you. Because of your perfect sight, will you be my First? My human voice to represent me as when the other gods and goddesses wake up? There are still so many of us that are still sleeping.”
Before I could ask him more questions, I said yes. Somewhere deep inside of me, I knew. When I was younger, I loved reading mythology from different countries and stories of heroes of long ago. Yet, as I read them I wondered where they all went. Surely, I thought, they had to have gone someplace. They couldn't have been just stories.
“What do I do?”
He smiled and several of his eyes blinked rapidly. “Let me touch your eyes. It will not hurt, I promise.” 

I, the First to the God of Sight, am his Voice.

The times that are coming are not times of war and destruction, but rather of change.

A massive change upon the entire world.

Stand ready and watch.

Friday, October 16, 2015

It's Not Easy Being a Vampire in New Orleans.....

Many of you know the story of how I got into the Goth subculture, so I won't repeat it here. To me, it's more than wearing all black and wandering through graveyards (although I do those things!). It's a state of mind, an aesthetic of Life that many people want to ignore or just pretend that it doesn't exist. Or, some will claim that being Goth equates with being Satanic or evil. Not true.

In my college years in the 90s, I was a full on black Goth, complete with dyed hair, black or deep red lipstick, and the jaunts to the various Goth/Industrial clubs in Washington DC. I danced with my fellow brothers and sisters of the night to the music of Sisters of Mercy, Rosetta Stone, Switchblade Symphony, Sunshine Blind, and many others. When I discovered Industrial music and stomped my way through the dance floor, the Goth side still lingered inside of me and refused to go away. Even to this day, I have a full Goth playlist on my phone titled CLOVES (cheesy, I know), and I will still pick up issues of Gothic Beauty while thinking of Propaganda, Ghastly, Carpe Noctem, and Dark Realms. I still treasure my Johnny the Homicidal Maniac shirt. 

In short, I am a Goth. Get over it.

Now, with that being said, this brings me to my review of a book that wonderfully reminded me of my younger days in the Goth scene. Bloody October, a novel by my friend Kurt Amacker, is simply brilliant because it not only tells a fantastic story regarding vampires, but it also provides a grand backdrop of the 90s Goth scene in New Orleans. Jason Castaing is a journalist who is all about the booze, writing the occasional article to scrape him along, and frequenting the various clubs and bars that host the denizens of the night. However, after rescuing a man from a car accident, his world gets completely transformed into the shape of a vampire who is the real deal. John, a loner in New Orleans, seeks a friend who will help him with the outside world, and Jason is just that man. Unfortunately, not all is well, for secrets will be revealed, ritual murder will dare to show its ugly face, and blood will rule supreme in the Crescent City. Welcome to Bloody October.

Amacker does an excellent job in giving the readers enough of a taste of New Orleans to bring the city to life within the pages, regardless if you have ever visited the city or not. While reading the book, I felt as though Jason were the Goth Hunter S. Thompson, always on the move, always seeking that next drink, always wondering about John, and always trying to stay afloat. Jason is that kind of character that you hope will make the right choices and will forgive when he disappoints because somehow, you think that it was all for the best. John fit my description of a true vampire – scared, alone, and yet still dangerous. When Amacker reveals the “source” of John's vampirism, it made a lot of sense in this crazy world.

If you are looking for an excellent murder mystery set in New Orleans that just HAPPENS to have vampires in it, I highly recommend Bloody October. Since Amacker's great writing reminded me of my younger Goth days, I figured I would end this review with some of my favourite songs back in the day that I still enjoy. Thanks again, Kurt, and see you soon!

(Rosetta Stone - The Witch)

(Siouxsie and the Banshees - Cities in Dust)

(Concrete Blonde - The Vampire Song. LOVED dancing to this song!)


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Silent Ancients

I love it when, while walking around Downtown Memphis during my lunch break, I have a chance to shoot photos just for the hell of it. One such lunch break led me to the court house on Adams and especially the statues that are seated on the outside. Each statue represents a different virtue or characteristic and soon, I found myself taking photos while hoping like hell I didn't fall down the steps!

In any case, here is a sample of the wonderful day. I hope you enjoy them.

All of the photos are for sale in either 8.5 x 11 ($10) or 11 x 17 ($30). I do accept PayPal with the email of

(I'm extra proud of how this photo turned out! Hail Caesar!)